Poland host Italy in the UEFA Nations League at the Silesian Stadium in Chorzow on Sunday. Both teams trail Portugal in League A Group 3 and battled to a 1-1 draw in Bologna back in September.
Italy can call on several key stars, including Chelsea midfield playmaker Jorginho. The Azzurri should also know their opponents well, with some of Poland’s brightest talents playing in Serie A, including Napoli duo Piotr Zielinski and Arkadiusz Milik.
Surprisingly, the visitors are favourites despite being on a dismal run of five matches without a win under coach Roberto Mancini.
Date: Sunday, October 14
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports Football, ESPN
Live Stream: Sky Go. ESPN+.
Odds according to OddsShark.
Italy’s status as favourites will make sense if Mancini’s men control midfield. Jorginho owns the ball better than most, while Paris Saint-Germain schemer Marco Verratti also knows how to recycle possession between the lines.
The pair will be key to creating chances for Ciro Immobile and Federico Bernardeschi. Both possess the pace and movement to trouble the Poland defence.
Bernardeschi scored during Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Ukraine. The Juventus forward offers Mancini a player who can operate on the flanks or though the middle but is at his best when making runs from out to in.
Poland’s cutting edge still comes from Milik and Bayern Munich frontman Robert Lewandowski. The latter started as Poland lost 3-2 to group leaders Portugal on Thursday.
Krzysztof Piatek had put the hosts in front, a contribution reflecting the 23-year-old’s burgeoning talent for finding the net. Barcelona and Chelsea are already keen on the Genoa striker, per Rebecca Chaplin of The Sun.
Both teams have quality in the attacking areas, making goals likely in this one. Italy’s edge should come from how they use the ball in a more intuitive way thanks to the vision of Jorginho and Verratti.